3 things you need to do to attract millennials (your job market depends on it)

Wed, 2016-04-20 07:00 -- Kevin Ebi

What are you doing to be the next big employment center? As we’ve mentioned before, the world’s cities are growing fast, but there’s no guarantee yours will too. In fact, some big cities are shrinking fast because their dominant employers are no longer dominant.

Many of today’s booming industries seem to be dependent on attracting well-educated millennials. They are in demand, and Council Lead Partner AT&T has put together a list of six key things millennials want from their employers. While it’s written for businesses, your city should take note, too, since half the items on the list require at least some help from enterprising cities.

We’ve summarized those three areas below and suggested steps your city can take to get more than its fair share of these in-demand workers and the jobs that go with them. — Jesse Berst

1. Your transit system needs to be flexible
Millennials don’t want to work regular business hours. More than almost anything else, their top request of employers is for flexible schedules. Only opportunities for skills development ranked higher.

Since we’ve already established that millennials don’t want to drive, for your city to attract them (and the businesses that want to employ them), you need a transit system that is as flexible as their schedules. An 8-to-5 transit service is not going to meet their needs.

2. Your downtown needs to be vibrant
Millennials have a strong fear of “missing out.” At work, that means they don’t want to be confined to silos. They over-share and want to know everything that’s going on in the company, whether or not it has anything to do with their job description.

But the fear of missing out also extends into their social lives and that’s where cities play a role. If friends and colleagues in other cities seem to be having a much better time than they are, they will feel like they are “missing out” in yours.

3. You need to help them connect
Millennials like face-to-face interaction, but they want a screen in between. While they use a variety of methods to communicate, they do like to be able to do video calls. They believe that seeing the other party’s face gives them clues into nuance that they would miss otherwise.

What can cities do about that? Develop — or encourage the development of — high-speed, public Wi-Fi. Our recent Special Theme Edition on connectivity is full of ideas and suggestions.

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